The REACH Foundation has identified two targeted outcomes that provide focus for our grant making, policy and advocacy, capacity building and technical assistance efforts:  1.) Increase the number of people in the foundation’s service area who have access to quality, affordable health care services and health coverage; and 2.) Improve the quality of health services for poor and medically underserved people.

In making grant decisions, the foundation considers how a program or initiative aligns with these targeted outcomes and the potential to achieve lasting impact. For each outcome, the foundation has identified strategies to increase access to health care services and health coverage and improve the quality of health services. The outcomes and strategies reflect a theory of change that outlines how the foundation will seek to improve health care, and ultimately health outcomes, for our target population.

The theory of change is a “roadmap” for connecting strategies and the indicators (or milestones) the foundation seeks to achieve on the way toward reaching outcomes. By measuring changes in this selected set of indicators, we will be able to determine our progress.

Why is this important to grant seekers?

The theory of change describes the REACH Foundation’s priorities and the pathways we have identified for improving health outcomes for poor and medically underserved people in our service area. This information guides our grant making, initiatives and other resource allocation decisions.

How will the REACH Foundation measure success?

The theory of change identifies indicators REACH will use to measure progress. In preparing a grant application, organizations will be asked to describe how their planned program or activities will support the foundation’s targeted outcomes, and the indicators the organization will monitor and measure.

What are the indicators the Foundation has selected?

Foundation staff convened grantees and other regional health leaders to discuss and develop a set of indicators for effectively measuring outcomes in the foundation’s priority areas of oral health, mental health and safety net health care. The indicators will be implemented beginning in 2015. Foundation staff will work with grantees to select the appropriate indicators and establish systems for assessment and reporting. Review the indicators for each health priority:

Oral Health Indicators | Mental Health Indicators  | Safety Net Health Care Indicators

Will the Foundation only measure these indicators?

These indicators serve as a starting point for assessing progress and determining if the strategies in which we are investing can support the desired outcomes and longer-term change. Many nonprofit organizations will have indicators they are seeking to measure beyond those we have identified. Those organizational outcomes are equally important to inform program and other internal operational decisions.

What are good resources for learning more about theory of change?